每日英語跟讀 Ep.876: History Recorded and Archived in Real Time
Sherri Denney was in the fourth day of quarantine in her home in Springboro, Ohio, when she thought about the toll the coronavirus was taking. She sat in her recliner chair and cried as the state’s governor checked off the number of dead and sickened, knowing there would be more the next day. Overwhelmed, Denney, 55, tried to put her feelings into words.
“Wow,” she began writing on an old sketch pad, quickly realizing the precise words would not come easy. “That’s all I can say. My emotions are ranging from sadness to fear to anger.”
The week before, a woman in Nevada turned to her own version of journaling. Mimi J. Premo recorded a video on her cellphone, giving voice to a kind of stunned weariness so many Americans are feeling. And in Indianapolis, in an interview recorded by two university research assistants, a man who is diabetic and HIV positive talked about how the speed and unclear ways of transmission “freaks me out.”
The three accounts, snapshots of intimate moments during the pandemic, are a response to a call from historians and archivists across the country to document this extraordinary moment in history.
Universities, archives and historical societies, ranging from the Smithsonian National Museum of American History to a tiny college radio station in Pennsylvania, are rushing to collect and curate the personal accounts of how people are experiencing this sprawling public health crisis as told in letters and journals, audio and video oral histories, and on social media.
They are inviting people such as Denney and Premo to share stories and material from the 2020 coronavirus and its aftermath in real time. The idea is to bridge communal history and offer a fully realized look at the outbreak that can help the public, researchers and policymakers better understand how the pandemic permeated our lives.
Whether a somber handwritten journal or an endearing Instagram post, the contributions will offer a look at a nation attacked by a virus coast to coast. The stories document sickness and death. The profound disruption of American rhythms and rituals, evidenced by empty shelves and streets. The gnawing restlessness of sheltering in place. The ways people showed resilience and managed to still find joy.
“What we as contributors record is what the future generations will remember,” said Mark Tebeau, one of the project directors of a virtual archive founded at Arizona State University.
The team of historians and artists launched A Journal of the Plague Year: An Archive of COVID-19 on March 13, two days after the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a pandemic. The name was inspired by Daniel Defoe’s novel “A Journal of the Plague Year,” which chronicles the bubonic plague in 1665 London through the lens of one man.
Source article: https://paper.udn.com/udnpaper/POH0067/353402/web/